Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy

The Rise and Fall of the Great Powers by Paul Kennedy rather hard to review this because Kennedy's thesis is a statement that is a logical fallacy. That nations with the largest economic power win wars except when they don't. That being said this is an excellent summary of the last 500 years of military history and the interactions between the various powerful nations. This was published in the 1980s so the forecast section is wildly inaccurate. I can't really complain because it's not like anyone else was right either.


Sunday, March 29, 2009

Australian GP

I'm impressed with the regulation changes. They did encourage passing and with the added differences between the two types of tires led to some great racing. I'm looking forward to Malaysia this weekend. Now if someone from NASCAR could just explain how to deploy and withdraw the safety car....

Friday, March 27, 2009

A friendly reminder

I don't conceal the level of detail my reviews contain. If this is a problem don't send the book.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Mutiny on the Bounty by John Boyne

Mutiny on the Bounty by John Boyne is a fictional retelling of the famous events aboard HMS Bounty in 1789. John Jacob Turnstile a pickpocket is given a choice either jail or serve as captain Bligh's servant. The novel follows Turnstile's experiences through the outward voyage, Tahiti the mutiny and the journey by open boat. After it was set adrift by Christian. This is character driven as opposed to an adventure story. For the most part I enjoyed it. There were a few historical snafus along the way. I think some of the slang is more victorian then from the 18th century for instance. That being said an excellent addition to a nautical fiction library.

Highly recommended!

Note:This book was provided through Librarything's early reviewer.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

A Brief History of the Birth of the Nazis: How the Freikorps Blazed a Trail for Hitler by Nigel H. Jones

A Brief History of the Birth of the Nazis: How the Freikorps Blazed a Trail for Hitler by Nigel H. Jones covers the creation, deployment and absorption of the paramilitary right wing groups in Germany after World War One. This is part of the larger "A Brief History" series it's actually a decent size over 100,000 words. I'm not too sure what they'd consider a long history. Jones talks about not only the precursor of the NAZI Brown Shirts but others as well. He seems to be it pains to find members of the Freikorps who disagreed with Hitler and Nazism. The book is heavy on philosophical explanations for why the groups were popular. I'm not sure if it was really that complex. There's material on the various terrorist actions and attempted takeovers that they were responsible for. I was unaware of many of their actions in the east. Contains appendices and suggestions for further reading.


Saturday, March 21, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Typical stupidity

If it is not on everybody what's the point? FIA introduces £30m budget cap. If you're missing some stupidity for the current season. Wins to decide world champion in 2009

Gauntlet: A Novel of International Intrigue by Richard Aaron

Gauntlet: A Novel of International Intrigue by Richard Aaron a large amount of Libyan plastic explosives are stolen by terrorists. They are going to attack somewhere in the U.S. it is up to a newly formed intelligence center to figure out the target and track them down. Unfortunately the center is made up of clashing personalities that can't work together.

This is very much in the thriller vein of Clancy or Ludlum. Fast paced lots of action and violence. There's also a nice dose of characterization. Aaron has done his research he is pretty accurate except for one or two small mistakes.

The story is told through several points of view. This is fine until the threads are brought together in the last 100 pages. Instead of providing information to the search they are made irrelevant. The new information is revealed to the center through their own research at the same time.

Excellent first novel I'll be looking for any sequels.

Note: this was provided for review purposes.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Added books to the TBR pile

  • A Brief History of the Birth of the Nazis: How the Freikorps Blazed a Trail for Hitler by Nigel H. Jones
  • Beware the People Weeping: Public Opinion and the Assassination of Abraham Lincoln by Thomas Reed Turner
  • Stone God Awakens by Philip Jose Farmer
  • Bill, the Galactic Hero: On the Planet of Bottled Brains by Harry Harrison

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

NASCAR cover-up?

Where's the video of the DJ Copp incident? As noted there should be a better view than what we saw on Fox.

Those pesky facts

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Saga of Beowulf by R. Scot Johns

The Saga of Beowulf by R. Scot Johns is a massive retelling of the mediaeval poem in prose. This ways in at over 600 pages of small print. Johns' stays closely to the source material. There has also been an attempt to provide historically accurate framing. Things like armor and architecture. This is not a light read. In fact it's taken me several months to get through. I found that I had to be in the right mood for it. There's a lot here that does need to be read carefully. The only criticism I had of it is, there as frequent over writing. Something that could be described in a few sentences gets a page or more. Fortunately the descriptions are interesting. All and all a delightful retelling.


Note: this copy was provided by the author for review.


Same storyline with more T and A. Here there be stalling.

Monday, March 09, 2009

Because I don't feel like getting flamed

A blind item.

To all those who are currently enraged that their voices aren't being heard if you each kicked in $50 you'd have the makings of an excellent small press and could publish whatever you wanted.

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Guilty verdict in Rob Knox case

A man who repeatedly stabbed 18-year-old Harry Potter actor Rob Knox outside a bar in south-east London has been found guilty of murder.

Sounds like it wasn't the most difficult conviction to get but still nice to see that the system works. Sentencing of Karl Bishop is tomorrow. They sure are fast in the UK.

Tuesday, March 03, 2009

Full Throttle: The Life and Fast Times of Curtis Turner by Robert Edelstein

Full Throttle: The Life and Fast Times of Curtis Turner by Robert Edelstein is a biography of the NASCAR star of the 1950s and 60s. Turner was the stereotypical driver from that era, hard drinking, womanizing, rough driving and with a criminal past as a moonshiner. The biography has a nice balance between stories of his racing and outside ventures. He was a timber baron. Racing fans probably remember him because of his lifetime [eventually lifted] ban after attempting to start a union for drivers. Edelstein argues that this had less to do with labor issues and more to do with the teamsters providing him a loan to allow him to keep Charlotte Motor Speedway. An excellent treatment if you're interested in the history of NASCAR this is a must have. Surprisingly the book contains citations.

Highly recommended!